2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Butcher · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Rural · Scotland · Tears · Vicarage · Winter

A simple jar

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Several years ago, after our move to England, I found myself in an emotional turmoil. I found England to be very different. I am sure people who have had to move between countries will empathise with me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with England or her lovely inhabitants. It was me. I was used to something strikingly different. If you have watched the Scottish drama Shetland, you will get a rough idea of what most of my married life was like on various islands. The joys of being married to a Vicar! To be thrust into a city was a culture shock, to say the least. Everything from finding new friends to getting a certain cut of meat from the butchers was difficult.

I needed to turn a corner and needed to do it fast before life became unbearable. That was when I decided to do something with an empty jam jar (a clean one!) and scraps of paper. Every time I prayed over something, I would also write it down on the scrap piece of paper and put it in the jar. Every Sunday evening, I would go through all the written prayers and remove the ones that have been answered. It was amazing how many scraps of paper I was removing from the jar every week! I was beginning to feel better again as I was reminded through this act that even though I was lonely, God never left me! By the time, we moved yet again, another three times actually, the jam jar got lost and I forgot all about it!

However, since the start of January 2022, I have resurrected this habit and am feeling the better for it!

2022 · Anglican · Archbishop of Canterbury · Archbishop of York · Blogging · Church of England · Church Times · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Scotland · Vicarage · Winter

ABC is being naughty yet again

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It was reported in the most recent Church Times that a new Archbishop’s secretary for appointments has been found. For the uninitiated, the secretary of appointments is the one who manages the process for the appointment of bishops, deans, and other senior posts in the Church of England.

Some people within the Church of England are a little surprised by the appointment as the post which has been vacant for only about 2 months doesn’t seem to have been advertised. Furthermore they are irked by the revelation that it is an internal appointment!

Personally, I find it strange that in the Church of England, clergy have to apply for new positions; something which I am not familiar with because in Scotland the clergy receive what is known as a “call”. Meanwhile administrative positions appear to require no such applications.

I dread that what happens inside the Church mirrors the secular government!

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Mental Health · Rural · Scotland · Scottish Highlands · Vicarage · Winter

Don’t be selfish!

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In the last few months, I have been noticing several emails in my inbox from a certain sender with the following subject heading ” Go on DM, don’t be selfish!” I was a little shocked when I saw it for the first time but now I just ignore these emails.

These emails are from Twitter. I do have a Twitter account which I was forced to set up when we were still living in the Scottish Highlands. We had some serious issues with our British Telecom phone line and because they were not taking our complaint seriously, someone suggested getting in touch with them via Twitter as that would shame them into taking action. It worked! Since then, my Twitter account has remained dormant.

According to the email from Twitter, it is selfish of me not to be wanting to make “new friends”. How dare they?

In our present climate, mental health is a big issue. Emails with irresponsible subject headings such as this actually have the potential of causing harm to a sufferer.

2021 · Anglican · Birthday · Blogging · Christmas · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Rural · Scotland · Vicarage · Winter

A Birthday Present

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Recently, I was asked how it feels to have a birthday between Christmas and Hogmanay (In Scotland, it refers to New Year’s Eve). I didn’t know how to answer that question because quite frankly I don’t know otherwise. I have always received one present but nothing unusual there because as a family we never exchange Christmas presents; the ones we buy are for the under privileged.

I do know that in the busyness of Christmas, people tend to forget my birthday. No matter. A friend once texted me a month later as she had totally forgotten!🤣

This question got me thinking and I remember how more than a decade ago on Christmas Day, I found myself in a distressing situation in a foreign country. I remember praying and asking God for a birthday present. I have never asked Him for one before! It was very bold of me but I was desperate. By the way, I did get my “present” a day before my birthday!

After all these many years, I have decided to ask God for another birthday present – better health for a close family member.

I don’t intend on making this a habit but this one will make me very happy.

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Private Eye · Rural · Scotland · Scottish Highlands · Vicarage · Winter

Analogue Phones & Power Cuts

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When we lived in the Scottish highlands and islands (yes, we’ve had our fair share of island life!), power cuts were common; not just in the winter months but also in the summer months. We had to constantly monitor the weather so that we will not be caught out.

The moment the power goes off, we would quickly unplug the digital phone and plug in the analogue phone which was always on standby. The reason for doing this is because as you probably already know, digital phones don’t work without electricity. Mobile phones too are useless if you don’t get a signal which is another common problem in remote places. However, even if you get a signal in your area, the strong winds can knock down the phone mast!

For this reason, I was miffed to read in the Private Eye (issue no. 1562) that in the year 2025, the analogue phone network is due to be switched off and that the phone lines will move to new digital services that will require electricity to operate! According to Ofcom, customers without power should simply dial 999 on their mobile phones! Educated into imbecility? 😁

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · Edinburgh · England · Face Masks · Rural · Scotland · Vicarage · Winter

Is there such a thing as an uneventful holiday?😁

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The last week in November saw us both going away on that much awaited holiday. We have both come back much rested but with the Mhinisteir missing a tooth! More on that later….

Among other things, the Mhinisteir wanted to visit the University library so we decided to have our holiday in that famous city where his alma mater is. We also got to stay in my favourite self catering cottage which was bliss.

For the first time ever, the Mhinisteir was left to enjoy his holidays; there was no emergency. Hallelujah!

Before we left, I landed with a family issue to deal with so I started the holiday with that hanging over my head. Thankfully it was dealt with midway so I was able to enjoy the rest of the holiday.

As we are still unable to visit our own dentist in Edinburgh, the Mhinisteir has been going to a private dentist in the city and so while he was there he had an appointment with the hygienist and so off he went. About an hour later, the Mhinisteir rang me on my mobile to say that one of his tooth was broken during his time with the hygienist and that he has an emergency appointment with the dental surgeon.

Two hours later, the Mhinisteir came back to the cottage with a tooth missing. The dental surgeon had no choice but to remove the offending half tooth. Thankfully it was one of his wisdom tooth.

We were booked to go for a special lunch two days later but I was prepared to cancel our booking because the Mhinisteir looked a sorry state.

Anyway, we did go for that special meal and we had an amazing time. It was so wonderful that we went back there again on the last day of our holiday. The restaurant is called Sticks N Sushi and specialises in Danish/Japanese infusion food. They have some branches across England. I hasten to add that this place is not for the price- conscious. I had the miso soup and nigiri on both occasions and they were both exquisite. The Mhinisteir doesn’t like anything raw so he had a good selection of “sticks” that he ate with rice. He also had the Mio sparkling sake as an aperitif and thoroughly recommends it and their selection of desserts. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to try any of their desserts thanks to my allergy but I was more than happy with my jasmine tea which again was very good.

The only downside was that the staff were not wearing masks and there was very little social distancing between the tables.

Another place that I would thoroughly recommend is a Thai restaurant called Thaikhun; again they have branches across England and a few in Scotland. We have visited them before but it is always for a takeaway. The Mhinisteir loves their food and I can have their pad thai which is non spicy. On this trip, I discovered that there is another dish called street noodles that is also non spicy. In fact, I like it more than their pad thai.

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Butcher · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Food · Observations · Parishioners · Rural · Scotland · Scottish Highlands · Vicarage · Vicarage Kitchen

Bambi Vs Nemo

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On Sunday, we had pan fried wild Scottish venison haunch for lunch. As I was preparing the meal, I got transported to Scotland as it usually happens!!!

When we lived in Scotland, we ate a lot of venison as it is my favourite red meat. I prefer it to beef; I don’t like lamb as I find the flavour a bit too strong for me.

At least one of our parishioners was a ghillie (one who attends to deer stalking expeditions) which meant that we always had venison in our freezer! In bygone days when I was fighting fit, we used to entertain quite extensively but strangely, I have never ever served venison to any of my dinner guests.

As a host, I always like to ask guests before hand their likes and dislikes together with their dietary requirements and every single time, I was told that they don’t like to eat bambi!!!!

However, they had no trouble with the Scottish Salmon that I served which has made me wonder how is it that they had no trouble eating nemo but not bambi???😂😂😂

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Britbox · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · India · Rural · Scotland · Scottish Highlands · Vicarage · Winter

A Suitable Boy

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Many many years ago, I remember sitting in our cold Scottish manse and reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth . It transported me to a country that I had not yet visited; I have since visited India even though it was a very brief trip. I am not sure I enjoyed the book as I don’t remember the story very much. The book wasn’t an easy read; I think it had 19 parts to it! The small print on the paperback copy added to the difficulty.

Since we don’t own a television, we did not get to watch the BBC mini series of the same name when it aired in 2020. However, in the middle of September, I got an email from Britbox informing me that the mini series is now available to us Britbox subscribers!

We have since watched the whole series and have thoroughly enjoyed it. Surprisingly, I found it very relaxing. I also understand the story a little better now.

It is worth watching if you have not already watched it!

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · England · Rural · Scotland · Supermarket · Vicarage

One item in basket

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On Monday evening, I was trying to pay OVO, our energy supplier and British Telecom over the Vicarage telephone. Unusually, I was successful with OVO but not so with British Telecom; there was an automated message saying that due to the global social media outage, they were unable to accept payment. I was intrigued. How can the social media outage be related to this?

Anyway, I was keen to complete my Ocado shopping online so didn’t think anymore about it until I had difficulty accessing Ocado!!!! Every time I logged in, there was an error message giving me a telephone number to call. Those living in the UK will understand my reluctance to ring any customer service number because it would have just meant that there might be nobody to answer due to Covid19 (favourite excuse).

It was only then that the penny dropped; it is the social media outage that has caused this. Oh dear! Does that mean I am going to end up with just one bottle of whisky??? You see, my shopping list is not always ready when I book the delivery slot and so I just add a Johnny Walker green label costing £40 which is the minimum amount required to the basket. Before anybody accuses me of hoarding shopping slots; please “hear” me out. I only book one slot and it is always for delivery in the next 5 days. 😁

The good news is I was eventually able to access Ocado’s website and the first thing I did was to remove the whisky bottle from the basket!!!

2021 · Anglican · Autumn · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Left Handed · Parish Life · Rural · Scotland · Vicarage · Vicarage Kitchen

4tbsp or 4tsp?

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I almost had a kitchen disaster last week while preparing to entertain a senior cleric. Regular readers will observe that these days I am often in the company of senior clerics!!!😀

The Mhinisteir was due to have a meeting with him at the Vicarage and since we all had to eat, we invited him to join us for lunch. I had only seen him from a distance at the cathedral so was delighted when he agreed to join us.

The lunch menu consisted of carrot and coconut soup, roast chicken sandwich, mini blinis with cream cheese and Scottish smoked salmon, chocolate cake and shortbread. All made by own fair hands!

I decided to prepare the soup a day in advance and as I set out my ingredients, I realised I had run out of chicken stock. Thankfully, I had Marigold organic bouillon powder but I had never used it before to make soup as previously I had only used either homemake stock or Kallo organic stock.

As per instructions, I put 4 tablespoons of the bouillon powder in a measuring jug. Just as I was about to pour some boiling water to make up the stock, it dawned on me that I had almost half a tin of bouillon powder in the measuring jug. I thought to myself that surely it can’t be right and decided to read the instructions again. 4 TEASPOONS not tablespoons!!!!! Oh my goodness, what a disaster it would have been!!!

Anyway, the soup turned out beautifully. The lunch too appear to have been a great success based on the thank you note we received.